It is a sum so large no one can comprehend it, but I don't think outside of this war issue there is anything fundamentally wrong with the system that cannot be righted. The major time when the Congress, I think, really became concerned about the significance of the war was really not before 1965, the big escalation. I think that this Congress should undertake to investigate the sources because I heard many implications of Madam Ky and others being involved in the traffic and I think there are some very serious things here at stake. 19,978 pages of FBI files covering the activities of the ant-Vietnam War group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War. country apart. I believe they are committed. Thank you for being here and I wish you all success. ), Accuracy of Information Through Official Military Channels, Senator Symington: Mr. Kerry, from your experience in Vietnam do you think it is possible for the President or Congress to get accurate and undistorted information through official military channels? They relived the absolute horror of what Senator Pell: I guess it is the old revolutionary adage. You said if our country was really threatened, you would have no hesitancy in taking up a gun. at the Geneva Conventions and using that as justification for a continuation of The Chairman: Mr. Kerry, it is quite evident from that demonstration that you are speaking not only for yourself but for all your associates, as you properly said in the beginning. It is not as effective unless you have those credentials. Forty members from a helicopter assault squadron, crash and rescue mission signed up in another one. Someone has to dies so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, "the first President to lose a war.". How did it impact Countries/governments and who protested against the Vietnam War. search and destroy missions, the bombings, the torture of prisoners, all But we are here as veterans to say we think we are in the midst of the greatest disaster of all times now because they are still dying over there, and not just Americans, Vietnamese, and we are rationalizing leaving that country so that those people can go on killing each other for years to come. Now, I think if you are going to try Lieutenant Calley then you must at the same time, if this country is going to demand respect for the law, you must at the same time try all those other people who have responsibility, and any aversion that we may have to the verdict as veterans is not to say that Calley should be freed, not to say that he is innocent, but to say that you can't just take him alone, and that would be my response to that. He comes back to this country and the moment he steps off an airplane that same habit costs him some $90 to support. That would be the fourth estate. On June 1, 1967, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) was founded in New York after six Vietnam vets marched together in a demonstration for an end to the war. See all of John Kerry's 1971 Vietnam Veterans Against The War Statement, no other writeups in this node. We saw Vietnam We veterans can only look with amazement on the fact that this country has been unable to see there is absolutely no difference between ground troops and a helicopter crew, and yet people have accepted a differentiation fed them by the administration. It goes beyond that. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a Whenever people gather there is always a tendency for some of the more emotional ones to do things which are even against their own interests. The Constitution under test, and we are failing. Witness Service Decorations Mr. Kerry: I don't know where they came from, sir, maybe Vietnam. Mr. Kerry: It is not controllable in this country. We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and This war was really just as wrong, immoral, and unrelated to our national interests 5 years ago as it is today, and I must say I agree with you. Of that, I couldn't give you a figure of habitual smokers, let's say, of pot, and I certainly couldn't begin to say how many are hard drug addicts, but I do know that the problem for the returning veteran is acute because we have, let's say, a veteran picks up at $12 habit in Saigon. I think you deserve much of the credit because I understand you are one of the leaders of this group. Statement of John Kerry, Vietnam Veterans Against the War Mr. Kerry: Thank you very much, Senator Fulbright, Senator Javits, Senator Symington, Senator Pell. 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 use the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart. I believe two Congressmen today broke a story. That is what we are trying to say. accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam. other questions such as the use of weapons; the hypocrisy in our taking umbrage When it does not, you create the possibilities for all kinds of other systems to supplant it, and that very possibility, I think, is beginning to exist in this country. (Laughter), Mr. Kerry: I would say they would be more prone to do that then the Army of the South Vietnamese. Senator Case: I think your answer was related still to the question of Indochina, but I think the President has tried to tie in Indochina with the question of world peace. That is even criminal in the sense that their country, if we are really worried about recrimination, is going to have to someday face up to the fact that we convinced a certain number of people, perhaps hundred of thousands, perhaps there will be several million, that they could stand up to something which they couldn't and ultimately will face the recrimination of the fact that their lives in addition to all the lives at this point, will be on our conscience. We have lost most of our major efforts. VVAW says it is a national veterans' organization that campaigns for peace, justice, and the rights of all United States military veterans. Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while The Chairman: You have certainly done a remarkable job of it. That is not a structural deficiency in our system. WorldCat Home About WorldCat Help. I only throw this out because I have a feeling that because of the unusual horror that has developed from this war too many people may lose confidence in our system as a whole. It really happens. We watched pride Mr. Kerry: My feeling, Senator, is undoubtedly this Congress, and I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but I do not believe that this Congress will, in fact, end the war as we would like to, which is immediately and unilaterally and, therefore, if I were to speak I would say we would set a date and the date obviously would be the earliest possible date. This page was last edited on 23 February 2012, at 20:55. American. That is what we are trying to and finally, in your opinion, what were some fot he lessons learned as a result of this war? At any time that an actual threat is posed to this country or to the security and freedom I will be one of the first people to pick up a gun and defend it, but right now we are reacting with paranoia to this question of peace and the people taking over the world. VVAW participated in and organized antiwar demonstrations, public education efforts, militant actions, and … 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. And I often read about my own missions in the Stars and Stripes and the very mission we had been on had been doubled in figures and tripled in figures. $1.49. I don't believe that is true. And just recently the same hospital gave three wards to New York University for research purposes. I don't believe we can. Therefore, I think it is ridiculous to assume we have to play this power game based on total warfare. When it comes to looking after the people who would be killed if we left or badly ruined, I would hope you would develop your thinking a little bit to make sure that American public opinion, which now wants to get out, also bears in mind that when we depart we have an obligation to these people. He said that the United States simply can't right every wrong, that we can't solve the problems of the other 94 percent of mankind. I want to very much. It is a traditional rather classic procedure of how to end a war that could be called a stalemate, that neither side apparently has the capacity to end by military victory, and which apparently is going to go on for a long time. It is a very serious problem. Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits It comes back to the informing of the electorate; doesn't it? ), Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement, https://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Vietnam_Veterans_Against_the_War_Statement&oldid=3633112, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Although you have demonstrated in the sense that has become disapproved of in some circles, I think you have demonstrated in the most proper way and the most effective way to bring about the results that you wish and I believe you have made a great contribution. The first thing they did was to arrange a cease-fire and the killing did cease. We appreciate that President Obama chose to commute the unreasonably harsh 35-year sentence that had been handed down to Ms. Manning though we believe a pardon would have been more appropriate. What has developed in this country, however, at this point is something quite different and that does require some fundamental changes. I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several war.". We watched while men charged up hills because a general said that hill Effectiveness John Kerry has served the United States as a successful politician for many years. I can't imagine anyone communicating more eloquently than you did. Then it took only, I think, two or three weeks to tidy up all the details regarding the withdrawal. The moral and morale issues you have raised will have to be finally acted upon by the committee. The Communists are not about to take over our McDonald hamburger stands. I agree with you and with the body count. I have to preside at 1 o'clock. I understand these things. Summarize Us entry into the vietnam war and the rise of the anti-war movement. (Applause. I see an unwillingness on the part of too many of the members of this body to respond, to take gutsy stands, to face questions other than their own reelection, to make a profile of courage, and I am -although still with faith- very, very, very full of doubt, and I am not going to quit. Senator Javits has introduced a bill with regard to the war powers in an effort to reestablish what we believe to be the constitutional system in which you say you have confidence. die for a mistake?....We are here in Washington to say that the problem of this The 11th one said, "It couldn't be better, General. Type Document Author(s) John Kerry Date April 23, 1971. After all, all these people get here because of the support back home, as you know. I really believe if we can stop this war- I certainly expect to do everything I can. The VVAW of the 1990s is quite different from the VVAW of the 1960s, but still maintains an active presence as a veterans' peace organization. Senator Case: I thank you very much. He rang a bell and there was nobody there to service that man and so he died of convulsions. We have to persuade the Executive to do this for the country. These are commanders who have deserted their troops, and there is no more serious crime in the law of war. It publishes a twice-yearly newsletter, The Veteran; this was earlier published more frequently as 1st Casualty (1971–1972) and then as Winter Soldier (1973–1975). If we could get that kind because I think we are in a constant war against ourselves and I would like to see that come- they should demand it of each other if can demand it of people. Over the years members of this committee who spoke out in opposition to the war were often accused of stabbing our boys in the back. Have you yourself arrived at the point where you believe that basic structural changes must be brought about in our system or do you believe it can be made to work? We watched the United States falsification of body counts, in fact the All countries have had this same problem and so long as they have a representative system this has to be met. By John Kerry. I understand. Search. Kerry, later a Massachusetts Senator and 2004 presidential contender, articulated a growing disenchantment with the Vietnam War and delivered a blistering … As long as those needs are satisfied, that structure will exist. Where are they now that we, the And more. We believe we do have a plan, and that plan is that if this body were by some means either to permit a special referendum in this country so that the country itself might decide and therefore avoid this recrimination which people constantly refer to or if they couldn't do that, at least do it through immediate legislation which would state there would be an immediate cease-fire and we would be willing to undertake negotiations for a coalition government. 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