O’Neill comes off as a collassal ass, predictably.
MR. O’NEILL: Mr. Kerry is the type of person who lives and survives only on the war weariness and fears of the American people.
This is the same little man who on nationwide television in April spoke of "crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command,’’ who was quoted in a prominent news magazine in May as saying, "War crimes in Vietnam are the rule and not the exception.’’ Never in the course of human events have so many been libeled by so few.
MR. KERRY: I don’t think that any man comes back to this country to say that he raped or to say that he burned a village or to say that he wantonly destroyed crops or something for pleasure.
I think he does it at the risk of certain kinds of punishment, at the risks of injuring his own character, which he has to live with, at the risks of the loss of his family and friends as a result of it, and he does it because he believes intensely that people have got to be educated about the devastation of this war.
MR. CAVETT: Did you see war crimes committed?
MR. KERRY: I personally didn’t see personal atrocities in the sense that I saw somebody cut a head off or something like that. However, I did take part in free-fire zones; I did take part in harassment interdiction fire. I did take part in search-and-destroy missions in which the houses of noncombatants were burned to the ground.
And all of these, I find out later on, these acts are contrary to the Hague and Geneva Conventions and to the laws of warfare. So in that sense, anybody who took part in those, if you carry out the application of the Nuremberg principles, is in fact guilty.
But we’re not trying to find war criminals. That’s not our purpose. It never has been. What we’re looking for is an examination of our policy by people in this country, particularly by the leaders…
Using this as a springboard: what is it with certain kinds of conservatives who are unable to admit we a) systematically committed war crimes in Vietnam, or even if they can, to b) admit that the people who said we were at the time - like John Kerry - were right, or even then, c) that the people like Kerry were not “traitors”, or “losing the war”?
Seriously, I don’t get it. Doug’s stories about how his dad can say “yeah, I saw soldiers do appalling things over there,” and then in the next breath call Kerry a son of a bitch for saying the same thing just boggle my mind.