- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2004

Come back Kerry?

Democratic presidential candidate John Forbes Kerry often touts his war record in Vietnam but hardly ever recounts his true post-Vietnam activities, and when asked about these very troubling activities, Mr. Kerry refuses to answer directly.

It is because Mr. Kerry is a pretender to the highest office of the land that we must ask him about them, for it is imperative that we know his true character.

At a veterans rally in Manchester, N.H., Mr. Kerry told the crowd that “the first definition of patriotism is keeping faith with those who wore the uniform of our country.” (“Kerry ignores rivals, hits at Bush,” Page 1, Saturday). Yet his post-Vietnam activities as a rabid war protester who, in testimony before Congress, accused our military serving in Vietnam of being criminals brutally oppressing the Vietnamese — a charge unsupported by facts — belie his claim of “keeping the faith” with those in uniform.

Mr. Kerry’s pro-communist propaganda betrayed not only the veterans who came home humiliated amid jeers instead of cheers but, more important, the prisoners of war, those still missing in action and his fellow soldiers who were still dying in the service of our country. Mr. Kerry’s hypocrisy and dishonesty, especially regarding the Vietnam veterans and his claim that he did everything possible to continue the search for missing POWs, must be exposed.

In his article “What you don’t know about John Kerry,” Chuck Noe wrote on Jan. 20 on newsmax.com that Mr. Kerry’s pro-communist and anti-American activities caused Gen. George S. Patton IIIto note at the time that Mr. Kerry’s actions had “given aid and comfort to the enemy” — very serious charges that we can ill afford to ignore any longer, even at the risk of offending the former Lt. Kerry’s sensibility as a “highly decorated war hero.”

It would behoove the mainstream media to send an investigative reporter to find a copy of Mr. Kerry’s book “The New Soldier,” the cover of which depicts some “unkempt youths crudely handling the American flag to mock the famous photo of the U.S. Marines at Iwo Jima,” according to a report by Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry. Mr. Noe notes that copies of this book suddenly became unavailable and even disappeared from libraries when Mr. Kerry ran for Congress in 1972 and “found it necessary to suppress reproduction of the cover picture.”

The voting public needs to know more about Mr. Kerry’s writings.

In his political analysis “Kerry the Candidate,” the noted POW/MIA advocate and former Rep. John LeBoutillier asserts that “Kerry is going to play his ‘hero’ card for all it is worth” and is making a big push for veterans’ votes. He describes Mr. Kerry’s chairmanship of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIAs (created in 1991) as “a disgraceful and shameless coverup of the truth about our abandoned men — all to ‘clear the decks’ for normalization of relations with Hanoi.”

I also might add that, to the dismay of POW/MIA families, Mr. Kerry and his dear friend Sen. John McCain pushed this normalization bill through the Senate, sans the prerequisite of unilateral accounting for the missing POWs, thus eliminating the last bargaining chip left for us to ensure Vietnam’s help in the search for our missing men.

So much for Mr. Kerry’s supposed “support for the troops.”

Furthermore, the Center for Public Integrity reported that Mr. Kerry’s participation in the POW/MIA committee became controversial in December 1992, when Hanoi announced it had awarded Colliers International — a Boston-based real estate company — an exclusive deal to develop real estate, potentially worth billions. Stuart Forbes, the chief executive of Colliers, is John Forbes Kerry’s cousin.

As anyone can see, there is plenty of investigating to be done of our illustrious candidate Kerry. The voting public will decide; we can only report.

CARIN SALA

Palm Beach, Fla.

Drugs and diplomacy

Rep. Mark Steven Kirk is right that the heroin trade has been an important element in al Qaeda’s ability to thrive in Afghanistan(“Osama bin Laden a ‘narco-terrorist,’ ” Nation, Thursday); however, his simplistic implied solution — cracking down on the drug trade — is a non-starter for several reasons of which he seemingly is not aware.

First, it was cooperation between the CIA and its allies against Soviet takeover in the 1980s — the Northern Alliance — that increased Afghanistan’s share of the global heroin market from also-ran status to world leader between 1979 and 1989. Second, it was the inability of Northern Alliance opium warlords to govern that led to their replacement (through the Pakistani military’s Inter-Service Intelligence, with our acquiescence) by the Taliban in the early ‘90s. Third, it has been Pakistan’s increasing dependence on illegal drug revenue for foreign exchange that has kept it mired in poverty by scaring off foreign investment. That combination of circumstances greatly strengthened al Qaeda’s position in both countries between 1992 and 2001.

Finally, all that has been accomplished by our war against terror in Afghanistan has been to turn back the clock by reinstalling the same opium warlords to positions of leadership. The U.S. role in that sorry tale will not stand scrutiny, so I doubt the Bush administration will attempt to stop drug trafficking in any effective way — not that it could if it wanted to. Where, in the real world, have we ever “stopped” drug trafficking?

The war on drugs, despite official denials, is as big a failure as the vaunted war on terror is proving to be; your news article only emphasizes that point to anyone who is informed.

TOM O’CONNELL

Redwood Shores, Calif.

No honor in martyrdom

The article “Atoning for adultery with ‘martyrdom,’ ” (Page 1, Jan. 20) deftly recounted the excruciating dilemma the terrorist group Hamas imposed on a Palestinian Arab mother of two children. This inhumane choice forced upon her by her own husband, a Hamas operative, disclosed the profound perversion that corrupts and stagnates Middle Eastern society. The woman was condemned to die at the hands of a relative or by cleansing her soul with Israeli blood

Throughout the Muslim world, the barbaric practice of honor killings of women is practiced regularly. If the woman is even suspected of having a dialogue or being touched by any man, she is considered defiled and is murdered brutally but the man is never punished.

I shared this story with my colleagues at work. I will never forget the horrified expressions and the grimaces of disgust they displayed while reading this incredible, poignant piece.

Every woman and any person who cherishes freedom, human rights and life should be outraged with this repugnant custom. The time has arrived for civilized countries to condemn vociferously honor killings and suicide bombings. They are both repulsive and barbaric.

MARLENE YOUNG

Baltimore

Schools without standards

I was jarred by the story that Nashville schools would stop publishing honor rolls to protect the feelings of underachievers (“Law erases student honor rolls,” Nation, Sunday). Can this be happening in the great state of Tennessee?

If smart or especially hardworking students can’t be recognizedfortheirscholastic achievements, why shouldn’t the schools also cease publishing the names of the star basketball and football players? What about the feelings of those students who are less athletically inclined?

This last is tongue in cheek, of course, but I’m sure many other readers are as tired as I am of the seemingly endless efforts to denigrate the worth of brainpower while extolling the virtue of athletic prowess or of having a great set of pipes. When an athlete makes $20 million a year for playing a sport he enjoys or a movie star or singer makes millions, we don’t give it a second thought. However, when a corporate executive makes millions for his or her talents, this is portrayed as evil or unfair, even though one poor decision by a chief executive can directly and adversely impact thousands of employees and many more thousands of shareholders.

Just as high school athletes are extolled for their physical prowess, students should be encouraged by the recognition of scholastic excellence to use their gray matter. The Nashville schools need to revisit their decision.

FRANKLYN J. SELZER

Fairfax


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