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Senator Kerry’s most important Senate appearance was in 1971 the-last-word
On Thursday when Senator John Kerry testified before the Foreign Relations Committee on his confirmation hearing for Secretary of State, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell looks back at the day Kerry established his great legacy almost 40 years ago. read more...


John Kerry Then:
Hear Kerry’s Historic 1971 Testimony Against the Vietnam War

After returning from the Vietnam War, John Kerry became a prominent critic of the war. He testified before the Senate in 1971 and told of atrocities being committed by U.S. troops. He called for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. And he asked: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" We broadcast a rare recording of this historic address from the Pacifica Radio Archives.

On October 9, 2002, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry stood on the Senate floor and spoke in favor of the invasion of Iraq. The next day he voted to authorize President Bush to go to war.

Thirty years earlier, Kerry became a leading voice against the war in Vietnam.

Kerry returned from Vietnam in April 1969, having won early transfer out of the conflict because of his three Purple Hearts. He had also won a Silver Star.

When Kerry returned home, over 540,000 U.S. troops were deployed in Vietnam. Some 33,400 had been killed, and the number of protests in the U.S. was surging.

Kerry gradually became active in the antiwar movement. After working behind the scenes and making a few little-noticed appearances at rallies, he joined a group called Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

In January 1971, the organization held a series of hearings in Detroit called the "Winter Soldier Investigation." Kerry did not speak at the event, which received only modest press coverage. This is an excerpt of a veteran testifying at the hearings. He describes what it was like in Vietnam.

* Winter Soldier Investigation documentary

John Kerry declined to speak at the "Winter Soldier Investigation" hearings, but a bigger stage awaited him.

Three months after the hearings, Kerry took his case to congress and spoke before a jammed Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Television cameras lined the walls, and veterans packed the seats.

Kerry was 27 years old and dressed in his green fatigues and Silver Star and Purple Heart ribbons. On April 22, 1971, he sat at a witness table and delivered the most famous speech of his life. It was to become the speech that defined him and make possible his political career. Overnight, he emerged as one of the most recognized veterans in America.

Pacifica Radio played his speech on the air. Today, we will play a rare broadcast of that speech. From the Pacifica Radio Archives, this is John Kerry in 1971.

* John Kerry, testifying on April 22, 1971.
* * Pacifica Radio Archives*


JOHN KERRY: 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. The term "winter soldier" is a play on words of Thomas Paine’s in 1776, when he spoke of the "sunshine patriots," and "summertime soldiers" who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.

We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel, because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.

I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back from Vietnam. The country doesn’t know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence, and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped.

As a veteran and one who felt this anger, I would like to talk about it. We are angry because we feel we have been used it the worst fashion by the administration of this country.

In 1970, at West Point, Vice President Agnew said, "some glamorize the criminal misfits of society while our best men die in Asian rice paddies to preserve the freedom which most of those misfits abuse," and this was used as a rallying point for our effort in Vietnam.

But for us, as boys in Asia whom the country was supposed to support, his statement is a terrible distortion from which we can only draw a very deep sense of revulsion. Hence the anger of some of the men who are here in Washington today. It is a distortion because we in no way consider ourselves the best men of this country, because those he calls misfits were standing up for us in a way that nobody else in this country dared to, because so many who have died would have returned to this country to join the misfits in their efforts to ask for an immediate withdrawal from South Vietnam, because so many of those best men have returned as quadriplegics and amputees, and they lie forgotten in Veterans’ Administration hospitals in this country which fly the flag which so many have chosen as their own personal symbol. And we cannot consider ourselves America’s best men when we are ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia.

In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart.

We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but, also, we found that the Vietnamese, whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image, were hard-put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.

We found most people didn’t even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Viet Cong, North Vietnamese or American.

We found also that, all too often, American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how monies from American taxes were used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by the flag, and blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs and search-and-destroy missions as well as by Viet Cong terrorism,–and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong.

We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai, and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum.

We learned the meaning of free-fire zones—shooting anything that moves—and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals.

We watched the United States falsification of body counts, in fact the glorification of body counts. We listened while, month after month, we were told the back of the enemy was about to break. We fought using weapons against "oriental human beings" with quotation marks around that. We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using, were we fighting in the European theater. We watched while men charged up hills because a general said that hill has to be taken, and, after losing one platoon, or two platoons, they marched away to leave the hill for reoccupation by the North Vietnamese. We watched pride allow the most unimportant battles to be blown into extravaganzas, because we couldn’t lose, and we couldn’t retreat, and because it didn’t matter how many American bodies were lost to prove that point, and so there were Hamburger Hills and Khe Sanhs and Hill 81s and Fire Base 6s, and so many others.

Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of "Vietnamizing" the Vietnamese.

Each day, to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam, someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn’t have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can’t say that we have made a mistake. Someone has to die so that President Nixon won’t be, and these are his words, "the first President to lose a war."

We are asking Americans to think about that, because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? We are here in Washington to say that the problem of this war is not just a question of war and diplomacy. It is part and parcel of everything that we are trying, as human beings, to communicate to people in this country—the question of racism, which is rampant in the military, and so many other questions, such as the use of weapons: the hypocrisy in our taking umbrage at the Geneva Conventions and using that as justification for a continuation of this war, when we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions; in the use of free-fire zones; harassment-interdiction fire, search-and-destroy missions; the bombings; the torture of prisoners; all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam. That is what we are trying to say. It is part and parcel of everything.

An American Indian friend of mine who lives in the Indian Nation of Alcatraz put it to me very succinctly: He told me how, as a boy on an Indian reservation, he had watched television, and he used to cheer the cowboys when they came in and shot the Indians, and then suddenly one day he stopped in Vietnam and he said, "my God, I am doing to these people the very same thing that was done to my people," and he stopped. And that is what we are trying to say, that we think this thing has to end.

We are here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? We’re here to ask where are McNamara, Rostow, Bundy, Gilpatrick, and so many others? Where are they now that we, the men they sent off to war, have returned? These are the commanders who have deserted their troops. And there is no more serious crime in the laws of war. The Army says they never leave their wounded. The Marines say they never even leave their dead. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude. They’ve left the real stuff of their reputations bleaching behind them in the sun in this country....

We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us. But all that they have done, and all that they can do by this denial, is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission: To search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war; to pacify our own hearts; to conquer the hate and fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more. And more. And so, when, thirty years from now, our brothers go down the street without a leg, without an arm, or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say "Vietnam" and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead where America finally turned, and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.

Senator Kerry’s most important Senate appearance was in 1971
The next chapter in Sen. John Kerry’s story began Thursday during his confirmation hearings for his nomination to be Secretary of State. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell took a look back at John Kerry’s place in history when he testified on Capitol Hill before a panel nearly 40 years ago as a Vietnam War veteran and protester. continued...

John Kerry, 27, speaks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 22, 1971. (Photo by Henry Griffin/AP Photo)

Thank God for Hippies

Reminiscent of Blocking the Government in DC May Day 1971. My first taste of fear gas, my first boot in the side trying to sleep in the Lincoln Memorial. Seeing the inscription on the wall being drug out into the drizzling rain. Still brings fond memories. More about the $12, 3 fingered lids out of a sawed off school bus from Indiana. I split before the troops Sunday, in pouring rain. Headed to Pittsburgh, caught a ride to Breezewood, truckstops and motels. Picked up then by two guys in a Hearst Rent a Truck. Half full of cases of pepsi about 20 or so hippies were sitting on passing bowls, Got to Sumerset when the drivers said they ran out of gas. Sat there a while and then all hell started breaking loose. Cops, detectives, helicopters, state troopers, suits. Right on the PA Turnpike. Everybody out. I stashed my sack behind a sheet of plywood bolted to the truck. Still raining, ID's and empty pockets.

I'm seeing things go onto the cop car I can't believe. A syringe, pills, bags of pot, joints. 17 and fücked for life. Back into the truck, someone barked to keep the garage type door open. Off to a rest area and do it all again. As soon as the truck started moving someone reached up and closed the door and fired up a few bowls of opiated hash. At the rest area the various cops are pondering. Everybody back in the truck. Can anyone drive this? Back on the road I found my stash and loaded some bowls. I got off at my exit, last I heard the truck was heading to Lansing. Fück Ma Bell! Thousands were arrested and Unconstitutionally jailed inside of RFK football stadium. Each prisoner sat and formed a huge peace sign. I found out later they settled in court for $10k each. DdC

May Day 71.jpg


Senator Kerry’s most important Senate appearance was in 1971
Senator Kerry’s most important Senate appearance was in 1971



DdC's picture
DdC 6 years 13 weeks ago

John Kerry and Me
By Al Giordano Part I of an Occasional Series January 29, 2013
Thirty Years Ago, a Young Community Organizer Learned Electoral Politics from the New US Secretary of State.

Author’s note: After various months of researching and writing a book about my earliest adventures in community organizing and media during my teens and early twenties, came the news that one of the people I’ve been writing about, John Kerry, was nominated by President Barack Obama as the next US Secretary of State. Today, the US Senate foreign relations committee confirmed his nomination. I’ve known Kerry through three decades, worked for him twice, covered him as a reporter, argued and fought with him – including many times when he was a guest on my talk radio show – when I thought him wrong and have also had his back when he’s done the right thing. The following text is excerpted and adapted from the still untitled book. My main motive for these writings is to share lessons learned about organizing and media, strategy and tactics, and the experiences that taught those lessons, with the next generations of organizers and journalists. I’d also like to express my profound appreciation to my book editor, Katherine Faydash, for cleaning this chapter up so skillfully and ahead of schedule. – Al Giordano.

In 1971, John Kerry, a soldier recently returned from Vietnam, testified before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denouncing the war and asking “How can you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How can you ask a man to be the last man to die from a mistake?”

In early 1982 Charles F. McCarthy insisted that I meet his friend John Kerry, a 38-year-old attorney and candidate for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. The job of lieutenant governor is akin to that of vice president: you shake the governor’s hand each day, check his pulse, and if he’s not dying, you go back to your office and try to look busy. I was a 22-year-old community organizer in the hills of Western Massachusetts and could not have cared less about who would win election to a position with zero policy-making power. full story

Next in the series: Kerry’s 1984 US Senate Campaign and a strategy called “theme and message.”

John Kerry, with John Lennon, while organizing Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Iran Contra Anniversary
The Lost Opportunities of Iran-Contra 25 Years Later

CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US
Kerry Committee
In 1986, Senator John Kerry and Senator Christopher Dodd proposed a series of hearings at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding charges of Contra involvement in drug trafficking; the hearings were conducted by Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the Republican Chairman of the Committee. The report of the Committee, released on April 13, 1989, found that "Contra drug links included... payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies." The U.S. State Department paid over $806,000 to known drug traffickers to carry humanitarian assistance to the Contras.

☀MLK law and order,jpg

Defense Contractor NBC honors ailing war criminal George H.W. Bush with Freemasonic “33 photo” propaganda tribute

To join Skull and Bones, Bush had to lay naked in a coffin in front of the other Bonesmen and masturbate while recounting his entire sexual history. This disgusting initiation ritual forges the bonds of group psychopathy.

Protests against the Iraq War
Beginning in 2002, and continuing after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, large-scale protests against the Iraq War were held in many cities worldwide, often coordinated to occur simultaneously around the world. After the biggest series of demonstrations, on February 15, 2003, New York Times writer Patrick Tyler claimed that they showed that there were two superpowers on the planet, the United States and worldwide public opinion.

Iraq War Documentary - Hubris: Selling of the Iraq War google

Hubris : Selling the Iraq War - YouTube

Al Qaeda: The Database
We now know that these guerrillas were being backed by money provided by the Bosnian Defense Fund, an entity established as a special fund at Bush-influenced Riggs Bank and directed by Richard Perle and Douglas Feith.

Reagans 100th birthday

Corporations That Supplied Iraq's Weapons Program

Gaping holes in the CIA vs bin Laden story

Kosovo The Current Bombings: Behind the Rhetoric
By Noam Chomsky - 10/13/01

Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban

☀Bush Jr. and his fellow bone-wanking grave robbers.jpg pose with the skull of Geronimo. (Did G.W. Bush really masturbate in front of daddy and his friends to get into Skull & Bones?!)

Bush Bitch skull and bones Kerry

Palast Charged With Journalism
Breaking News October 31, 2006
Skull and Bones John Kerry, Bush's third cousin, and his North-Eastern liberal patsy has purposely insulted the U.S. Military and those innocent soldiers dying in Iraq, (based on a lie). Kerry calls them uneducated. Conclusion: Once a patsy, still a patsy.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good people to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

Obama Tilts Toward Iran Contra Gates
Finding North...And the Rest of Those Dillweeds

Donald Rumsfeld's replacement, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, served as deputy CIA director while the illegal Iran-Contra operations were taking place. "I was trying to learn the ropes while all this was going on,"

John Negroponte A 1997 CIA inspector general's report concluded that Negroponte covered up reports on human rights abuses committed by the U.S.-backed Honduran military that was linked to "death-squad activities."

"Under Reagan, Otto Reich headed the Office of Public Diplomacy. "The purpose of his office was none other than to get the American people to side with war over peace, using propaganda methods determined to be 'improper,"

"During Iran-Contra, Elliott Abrams pleaded guilty on two counts of unlawfully withholding information, but was later pardoned by the outgoing President George H.W. Bush.

Ollie North is on Fox News! Yay!

Fox Fakes News - Union 'Violence' Staged

☀Foxnew, where truth goes to die.jpg

Exporting DEAmocracy

Vietnam All Over Again - The Colombia Drug War

Losing the Mexican Drug War may be better than winning

Business of Fear

U.S.Al Qaeda!

☀Fascism comes to America.jpg

Drug Czar Walters and the Iran-Contra Connection
John P. Walters, appointed "Drug Czar" by President George Bush Jr., is uniquely qualified for his new job. He was actually involved in the Iran-Contra Drug Trafficking Cover-up.

The Iran-Contra Affair 25 Years On
President Ronald Reagan and his attorney-general, Edwin Meese, got up before the press and told a series of half-truths and demonstrable lies about what their administration had been up to as regards dealing with Iran, and how some of the money from that dealing had found its way to the Contra rebels then fighting Reagan's proxy war in Nicaragua.

Rmoney ties to El Salvadorian right wing death squads

"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance
when the need for illusion is deep." -- Saul Bellow

The inbedwith dis-infotainment: Gaza

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