With C-Span's replay of John Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony in the background, Baby continues to show no interest in the Vietnam veteran's troubles.
Prepared by having read a dog-eared PDF facsimile transcript of Vietnam Vet Against the War Lieutenant Kerry's 1971 testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, we watched the reruns on C-Span last night. 'Dozed off a couple of times but reread the crisp new HTML transcript this morning. With Glenn Reynolds' observation that "what struck me looking at it again just now is how little Kerry is questioned or criticized" in mind, we noticed Fulbright's fawning approval of Kerry's every word. That's the hardest thing about watching Senate hearings, the toe-curl factor. Professor Reynolds adds, "He's really never had to stand up to serious criticism before, which is, I guess, why he's handling it so badly now."
Re Kerry's testimony itself, it bristles with irony and in tone reminded us of Hillary's Wellesley College Graduation speech of two years earlier ("We're searching for a more immediate, ecstatic and penetrating mode of living."). Some highlights (strike-throughs and boldface represent ironic flashforwards that struck us in light of Senator Kerry's current "I fought in the Vietnam War before I fought against it" stance):
John Kerry The country doesn't know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence, and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which John Kerry no one has yet grasped.
As a veteran and one who feels this anger, I would like to talk about it. We are angry because we feel we have been used in the worst fashion by
John Kerry the administration of this country.
We know you have considered the seriousness of the aspects to the utmost level and I am not going to try to dwell on that, but I want to relate to you the feeling that many of the men who have 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.
Where are they now that we, the men whom they sent off to war, have returned? These are commanders who have deserted their troops, and there is no more serious crime in the law of war. The Army says they never leave their wounded.
The Marines say they never leave even their dead.
The John Kerrys of this world These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude. They have left the real stuff of their reputation bleaching behind them in the sun in this country.
I have been to Paris. I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government and of all eight of Madam Binh's points it has been stated time and time again, and was stated by Senator Vance Hartke when he returned from Paris, and it has been stated by many other officials of this Government, if the United States were to set a date for withdrawal the prisoners of war would be returned.
I think this negates very clearly the argument of the President that we have to maintain a presence in Vietnam, to use as a negotiating block for the return of those prisoners. The setting of a date will accomplish that.
Even back then, Mr. Kerry was looking toward France -- home of the surrender monkeys -- and inclined to take the enemy at his word.