About John Kerry
One Vietnam veteran's view
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
As a warning to young servicemen, a former Army Ranger in Vietnam and Florida state senator purchased full-page ads in military newspapers recounting how, as he lay severely wounded in a hospital, he learned of John Kerry's 1971 accusations of war crimes.
Dexter Lehtinen, a Miami attorney, told WorldNetDaily the ads are entirely his own, though he consulted with his wife, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and grown children before pouring more than $50,000 of the family's money into spots in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines Times last week. He also bought full pages in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call during the Democratic convention and The Tennessean of Nashville last Wednesday when Kerry spoke to the American Legion in that city.
Lehtinen said he has no official connection to the Republican Party, Bush-Cheney campaign or Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, but he is passionate about ensuring young active-duty and recently retired servicemen who know little about Kerry learn of the senator's anti-war activities.
"This is an audience that could be superficially misled by a simple statement that John Kerry was a Vietnam veteran," said Lehtinen, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida whose face was blown open by shrapnel while leading a Special Forces mission into Laos.
Lehtinen said a friend who recently came back from Iraq and retired after 30 years in Special Forces related that "all of these young kids are proud of their service, of what they are doing, but when Kerry is mentioned they say, 'Oh, well he fought in Vietnam. I like someone who fought in Vietnam.'"
"I thought that was a good audience to get the truth to," said Lehtinen, "not so much changing their minds, but providing information and preventing a mistake from happening - a 19-20 year old who might believe he is supporting a pro-military candidate."
The ad includes a photo of Kerry during his 1971 testimony alongside a quote with his blanket indictment that American soldiers "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, cut off limbs, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan ... ."
The text begins:
In 1971, I awakened after three days of unconsciousness aboard a hospital ship off the coast of Vietnam. I could not see, my jaws were wired shut, and my left cheekbone was missing, a gaping hole in its place. Later, while still in that condition at St Albans Naval Hospital, one of my earliest recollections was hearing of John Kerry's testimony before Congress.
I remember lying there, in disbelief, as I learned how Kerry told the world that I served in an Army reminiscent of Genghis Khan's; that officers like me routinely let their men plunder villages and rape villagers at will; that "war crimes" committed in Vietnam by my fellow soldiers "were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." Lehtinen then recalls how Kerry went to Paris to meet with North Vietnamese enemy officials while U.S. soldiers still fought in the field.
"The pain and disbelief I felt listening to his words went deeper than the pain I felt from the enemy fire which seriously wounded my face," he said.
Though he still bears the scars, the physical wounds have healed, he said, but "more than 30 years later, the wounds inflicted by John Kerry continue to bring pain to scores of Vietnam veterans."
"Those wounds - the bearing of false witness against me and a generation of courageous young Americans who fought and died in Vietnam - are much more serious than any wound warranting a Purple Heart," he said. "Those wounds go to the heart and soul. Those wounds never go away.
He notes his son is a Marine Corps weapons officer flying the F/A 18 Hornet in "the same Marine Corps Kerry ridiculed with his 1971 book cover showing protestors simulating the Iwo Jima Memorial, raising an upside-down American flag."
Kerry, Lehtinen charges, "shamelessly drapes himself in the imagery of Vietnam, military service and the support of veteran's devoid of any media scrutiny. Meanwhile, the criticism and disapproval of Kerry by scores of veterans continues to fall on deaf ears. Worse yet, any legitimate criticism of Kerry's post-war record is discredited as a 'personal' attack or an attack against his service."
He calls on Kerry to sign a waiver to release his military personnel and medical records, Form 180.
Lehtinen said he had to sign that form when he became a U.S. attorney.
"This is the portrait of a man who has failed to comes to terms with his treacherous past," Lehtinen says in the ad, concluding, "I, Dexter Lehtinen, paid for this ad personally, without any connection to other individuals or groups, because I want the public to know what John Kerry did to our Vietnam veterans."
Lehtinen will speak Sunday at a rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington called "Kerry Lied While Good Men Died."
Vietnam Vets for the Truth bills the event as a gathering of veterans who "served honorably" in Southeast Asia.
The theme of Lehtinen's newspaper ad is similar to a television spot run by Swift Boat Veteran's for Truth, which features prisoners of war who said their North Vietnamese captors piped in audio from Kerry's 1971 Senate committee address to demoralized them.
Jerome Corsi, co-author with John O'Neill of the group's best-seller, "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," told WND he welcomes Lehtinen's testimony as another category of servicemen, wounded vets, whose suffering was severely deepened by Kerry's accusations and anti-war activities.
"What strikes in these veterans' minds was that Kerry was a spokesman for this group [Vietnam Veterans Against the War], giving voice to the Vietnam veteran war myth," said Corsi, who pointed out the second half of his book is devoted to Kerry's post-war activities.
"He was clean shaven, spoke well, didn't come across as a wild hippy, and the liberal press gravitated to him," Corsi said of Kerry.
As WorldNetDaily reported, POWs telling of Kerry's impact will be featured in a television documentary about to be released by a Vietnam war veteran and award-winning reporter.
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