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SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS - JOHN KERRY
04/22/1971
ABC
A690P28B
ORIG. COLOR 1000' SOF / MAG. The testimony speech is not in its entirety; it was cut and below is what is on this film asset It starts at 12:00 and below is what the excerpts are; I would simply like to speak in very general terms. I - I apologize if my statement is general because I received notification yesterday you would hear me, and I'm afraid, because of the injunction, I was up most of the night We could come back to this country; and we could be quiet; we could hold our silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam. But we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, not reds, not redcoats but the crimes which we're committing are what threaten it; and we have to speak out. I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of -- of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back from Vietnam. In 1970 at West Point, Vice President Agnew said: Some glamorize the criminal misfits of society while our best men die in Asian rice paddies to preserve the freedoms which those misfits abuse. And this was used as a rallying point for our effort in Vietnam. But for us, his boys in Asia whom the country was supposed to support, his statement is a terrible distortion from which we can only draw a very deep sense of revulsion; and hence the anger of some of the men who are here in Washington today. It's a distortion because we in no way considered ourselves the best men of this country; because those he calls misfits were standing up for us in a way that nobody else in this country dared to; because so many who have died would have returned to this country to join the misfits in their efforts to ask for an immediate withdrawal from South Vietnam; because so many of those best men have returned as quadriplegics and amputees, and they lie forgotten in Veterans Administration hospitals in this country which fly the flag which so many have chosen as their own personal symbol. And we cannot consider ourselves America's best men when we were ashamed of and hated what we were called to do in Southeast Asia. because I'm outclassed here. I know that all of you have talked about every possible -- every possible alternative to getting out of Vietnam. We understand that. We know that you've considered the seriousness of the aspects to the utmost level and I'm not going to try and deal on that. But I want to relate to you the feeling which many of the men who've returned to this country express because we are probably angriest about all that we were told about Vietnam and about the mystical war against communism. We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese, whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image, were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from. We found that most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace; and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Vietcong, North Vietnamese, or American. We found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how monies from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by our flag, as blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs as well as by search and destroy missions, as well as by Vietcong terrorism; and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Vietcong. We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American soldiers that hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum. We learned the meaning of "free-fire zones," "shoot anything that moves," and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of Orientals. We watched the United States' falsification of body counts, in fact the glorification of body counts. We listened while month after month we were told the back of the enemy was about to break. We fought using weapons against "oriental human beings," with quotation marks around that. We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using were we fighting in a European theater -- or let us say a non-third-world people theater. And so we watched while men charged up hills because a general said "That hill has to be taken." And after losing one platoon or two platoons they marched away to leave the hill for the reoccupation by the North Vietnamese; because -- because we watched pride allow the most unimportant of battles to be blown into extravaganzas; because we couldn't lose, and we couldn't retreat, and because it didn't matter how many American bodies were lost to prove that point. And so there were Hamburger Hills and Khe Sahns and Hill 881's and Fire Base 6's and so many others. And now we're told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost KERRY TESTIMONY CONTINUES: " WHERE ARE THE LEADERS OF OUR COUNTRY? " ACCUSES MEN LIKE ROBERT MCNAMARA, WALT ROSTON, OF DESERTING THE TROOPS AND HIDING BEHIND A " FACADE OF PUBLIC RECTITUDE. " SIL OF HEARINGS. FULBRIGHT CALLS COMMITTEE TO ORDER. (THE COMMITTEE IS VIRTUALLY ABSENT EXCEPTING JAVITS, FULBRIGHT, CASE AND SYMINGTON. FULBRIGHT SAYS, IN OPENING STATEMENT THAT HE REGRETS THE REFUSAL BY THE SUPREME COURT TO PERMIT THE VIETNAM VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR THE USE OF THE MALL DURING THEIR WEEKLONG DEMONSTRATION NOW GOING ON (APPLAUSE). KERRY DESCRIBES TORTURES AND BESTIALITIES INFLICTED ON PRISONERS AND VIETNAMESE CIVILIANS BY US SOLDIERS. KERRY GOES ON, VERY ELOQUENTLY, TO INDICT THE WAR AND AMERICA'S PRESENCE THERE IN SOCIO-PSYCHOLOGICAL AND MORAL TERMS, SCORNING THE PRIDE WHICH TURNS ON INSIGNIFICANT BATTLE INTO AN EXTRAVAGANZA JUST BECAUSE WE HAVE TO WIN. " SO WE HAVE HAMBURGER HILL, KHE SANH HILL 881. " THEN KERRY SAYS THE LARGEST PERCENTAGE OF UNEMPLOYED IN THIS COUNTRY ARE VETERANS. KERRY CONDEMNS THE NO TROOPS IN LAOS OR CAMBODIA THEORY, SAYING THAT THE HELICOPTERS THAT FLY OVER THOSE AREAS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DEATHS OF GI'S TOO. SAYS US CONSTANTLY VIOLATES GENEVA CONVENTION. KERRY CALLS FOR THE SETTING OF A DATE FOR WITHDRAWAL WHICH WOULD MEET THE NORTH VIETNAM'S POINT AT THE PEACE TALKS THAT US PRISONERS OF WAR WOULD THEN BE RELEASED. (NOTE: MANY PARTS OF KERRY TESTIMONY IN THIS AND THE A ROLL ARE INTERRUPTED BY CAMERA STOPS AND CERTAIN PARTS OF HIS STATEMENT, WHICH LATER BECAME WELL KNOWN ARE NOT IN THIS FILM. CI: GOVERNMENT: COMMITTEES: SEN. FOR. REL. PERSONALITIES: KERRY, JOHN. PERSONALITIES: FULBRIGHT, J. W. PERSONALITIES: CASE, CLIFFORD. PERSONALITIES: SYMINGTON, STUART. PERSONALITIES: JAVITS, JACOB. ORGANIZATIONS: VIETNAM VETS AGAINST THE WAR. WAR: VIETNAM: DEMOS: WASH. , D. C.
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