My wife had rotator cuff surgery earlier this year, and the recovery is terribly painful. Then, she developed a 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 wound, 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 ilk 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 I volunteered. But for political expediency, John Kerry has rewritten history, again. After spending only four months in the country of Vietnam, John Kerry testified before Congress in 1971 with these exact words about incidents he 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 and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown 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, and you have dishonored me and all my fellow Vietnam veterans. Sure, there were a couple 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 character, 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 like President Bush did, and I am as proud of her as I am my 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.
John Kerry, you personally derailed the Vietnam Human Rights Bill, HR2883, in 2001, after it had passed the House by a 411 to 1 vote, and thousands of pro-American Montagnard tribespeople in Vietnam died since then who could have been saved, by you. 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 US to normalize relations with Vietnam for years. Why, Mr. Kerry? Simple, your first cousin C. Stewart Forbes, CEO, of Colliers International, recently signed a contract with Hanoi, worth BILLIONS of dollars for Collier’s 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 comes out of you is horse manure, and you are spreading it everywhere.
Medals do not make a man. Morals do.
Canon City, Colorado
Don Bendell served as an officer in four Special Forces Groups, is a best-selling author with over 1,500,000 books in print, a 1995 inductee into the International Karate Hall of Fame, and owns karate schools in southern Colorado.
Don or Shirley Bendell
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