Unlike Michael McCusker who wrote a wondrous paean to the glory of Sen. John F. Kerry as a war hero and a sterling example of courage (The Daily Astorian, March 5), I was never in Vietnam.
However, I've read several accounts of decorated military men who also fought there. None of those people was quoted in Mr. McCusker's letter, however. Looking back at Kerry's post-war exploits, it was nothing short of a travesty - an outrage - to, as McCusker did, compare George Washington with a man who insulted and betrayed his former "band of brother" even while they were still engaged in life-and-death struggles with the enemy. Washington heroically led a "rag-tag" army of brave men to overthrow an oppressive government holding them practically as enslaved subjects.
Here are some quotes from men who fought in Vietnam and returned without besmirching their comrades as Kerry did. Terry Garlock, a helicopter pilot (Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross): "Kerry broke the faith with his 'brothers' when he returned to the U.S. With the financial aid of Jane Fonda, he led highly visible protests against the war ... like Fonda's infamous visit to Hanoi in 1972, Kerry's public actions encouraged our enemy at a time they were killing American's sons."
Paul Galanti, POW: "The Viet Cong said they didn't think they had to win the war on the battlefields because they told us, thanks to U.S. protesters, they were going to win it on the streets of San Francisco and Washington."
Don Bendell, a former Green Beret officer, referring to Kerry's accusations of grotesque atrocities allegedly committed by U.S. military personnel: "Mr. Kerry, you are a bald-faced unprincipled liar, a disgrace and you have dishonored me and all my fellow Vietnam veterans ... medals do not make a man ... morals do."
Major Richard G. Erickson, (USMCR): "...once (Kerry) returned home from Vietnam, he betrayed his fellow servicemen who remained at war."
Retired Maj. Gen. George S. Patton III, who commanded combat troops in that war: "Kerry's protests gave aid and comfort to the enemy in the style of (Jane) Fonda and (former Atty. Gen.) Ramsey Clark. Kerry probably caused some of my guys to get killed...there's no soap that can wash the blood off his hands."
Kerry supposedly threw his medals on the U.S. Capitol - on camera, of course - but he was caught in a lie when his medals turned up displayed on his office wall. McCusker asserted that Kerry's adversaries are "hinting" that Kerry was a traitor in the same category of Hanoi Jane Fonda. I believe it's past "hinting." Other decorated war heroes include Benedict Arnold and Adolph Hitler. The current Unholy Trinity: Jane Fonda, John Kerry and Benedict Arnold.
E. Robert Nassikas