He comes back to this country and the moment he steps off an airplane that same habit costs him some $90 to support. As I said in the beginning, the fact that you have shown both great conviction and patience about this matter and at the same time conducted yourself in the most commendable manner has been the most effective demonstration, if I may use that word. Senator Case: May I press you just a little further or at least raise the question on which I would ask you to comment. But the issue, gentlemen, the issue is communism, and the question is whether or not we will leave that country to the communists or whether or not we will try to give it hope to be a free people. That is what we are trying to 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 no one has yet grasped. All countries have had this same problem and so long as they have a representative system this has to be met. There is no real drug rehabilitation program. We listened while month after month we were told the back of the enemy was about to break. I also feel that if we could finish the war completely within the reasonably near future, as some of the proposals before this committee are designed to do if we can pass them, I think the country can right itself and get back on the track, in a reasonably quick time, dealing with the problems you mentioned. peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military When you see the white of their eyes you are more guilty. I did what I could within my particular role in the Government to persuade both President Johnson and subsequent political leaders that this was not in the interests of our country. I don't believe that is true. Senator Aiken: Do you think they might help carry the bags for us? Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc. (VVAW, Inc.) is a national veterans organization that was founded in New York City in 1967 after six Vietnam vets marched together in a peace demonstration. That seems to be the few times we get it. They stopped the fighting by agreement when they went to Geneva and all the countries then directly involved participated in that agreement. The Chairman: With regard to the letters you have mentioned, I wondered about them. I realize that we cannot negotiate treaties and I realize that even my visits in Paris, precedents had been set by Senator McCarthy and others, in a sense are on the borderline of private individuals negotiating, et cetera. Many people simply don't have that available, and in order to get it inevitably wind up with their hands tied. In the beginning, back in the times that I mentioned when we first supported the French and throughout the 1950's up until the 1960's, this whole matter was not very much on the minds of anybody in the Congress. What, in your opinion, is the attitude of servicemen in Vietnam about congressional opposition to the war? Mr. Kerry: Well, Senator, frankly it does not appeal to me if American men have to continue to die when they don't have to, particularly when it seems the Government of this country is more concerned with the legality of where men sleep than it is with the legality of where they drop bombs. I went to Saigon and told this to a member of the news bureau there and I said, "Look, you have got to tell the American people this story." I apologize. The only people who can prevent My Lais are the press and if there is something to hide perhaps we shouldn't be there in the first place. I think it always fires us to a deeper sense of emergency and dedication when we hear from a young man like yourself in what we know to be the reflection of the attitude of so many others who have served in a way which the American people so clearly understand. Mr. Kerry: Senator, if I may interject, I think that what we are trying to say is we do have a method. Vietnam Veterans and Iraq Veterans Release Memorial Day Report on Veterans' Healthcare Crisis by VVAW National Office. And this is a very serious thing because I know on several visits- Secretary Laird came to Vietnam once and they staged an entire invasion for him. Senator Javits has introduced a bill with regard to the war powers in an effort to reestablish what we believe to be the constitutional system in which you say you have confidence. American. The Chairman: The committee will come to order. If I thought there was one, I would certainly propose it or try. country apart. Senator, I will say this. That was when it became a matter that, you might say, warranted and compelled the attention of the country. Statement by John Kerry of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (1971) On April 23, 1971, a young Vietnam veteran named John Kerry spoke on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War before the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations. "vietnam veterans against the war statement". Why should it be controllable in that country? Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement by John Kerry April 23, 1971 to the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations. As a prelude to a massive antiwar protest, Vietnam Veterans Against the War begin a five-day demonstration in Washington, D.C. I believe. Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) would like to extend our congratulations to Chelsea Manning, as we anxiously await her release from military prison on May 17, 2017. During the Vietnam War, he was an outspoken member of the anti-war movement, drawing attention to the futility of United States involvement, as well as American atrocities against civilians. Vietnam Veterans Against the War Denounce Bush Proposal to Cut Vets' Benefits by VVAW National Office. That is what these hearings are about. The alienation of the war, the emptiness of bath and forth, all combined adds to this. I don't think it is correct to say you have to have a lot of money. It is a traditional rather classic procedure of how to end a war that could be called a stalemate, that neither side apparently has the capacity to end by military victory, and which apparently is going to go on for a long time. war is not just a question of war and diplomacy. People often don't care. helped it in the turning. Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement (Online Periodical or Article) Skip to main navigation Skip to main navigation Skip to search Skip to search Skip to content English English, collapsed. Thank you for being here and I wish you all success. die for a mistake?....We are here in Washington to say that the problem of this I have gone to businessmen all over this country asking for money for fees, and met with a varying range of comments, ranging from "You can't sell war crimes" to, "War crimes are a glut on the market" or to "well, you know we are tired now, we have tried, we can't do anything." Coming Home: Vietnam Veterans in American Society. The Vietnam War was the longest and most unpopular war in which Americans ever fought. So I only wish to throw it out hopefully that, in spite of the tragic experiences of you and so many other people and the deaths of so many people, this system is not beyond recall and with the assistance of people like yourself and the younger generation we can get back on the track, and can make this system operate effectively. which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. We fought using weapons against "oriental Essential Question Will Be Response to Vietnam Issue. I say that because so long as we have the kind of strike force we have, and I am not party to the secret statistics which you gentlemen have here, but as long as we have the ones which we of the public know we have, I think we have a strike force of such capability and I think we have a strike force simply in our Polaris submarines, in the 62 or some Polaris submarines, which are constantly roaming around under the sea. I thought it was the most powerful and persuasive and helpful documentary in recent years. Mr. Kerry: Wrong system. We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. how did the war itself fit within US cold war policy in general? (Applause.). I think it is our job to see that you are suitably set up as an alternative so that you can do what you came here to do. Where are they now that we, the I personally believe that the great majority of all the people of this country are in accord with your desire, and certainly mine, to get the war over at the earliest possible moment. Mr. Kerry: Senator, we also know prior to this past year the House used to meet in the Committee of the Whole and the Committee of the Whole would make the votes, and votes not of record and people would file through, and important legislation was decided then, and after the vote came out and after people made their hacks and cuts, and the porkbarrel came out, the vote was reported and gave them an easy out and they could say "Well, I voted against this." That is not a structural aspect of our Government. We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We have to persuade the Executive to do this for the country. Why then should we feel that we now have the power to solve the internal political struggles of this country? I have joined in the Hart resolution, too. I think there was much criticism that we acted prematurely in urging the Belgians to get out of the Congo. Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement to U. S. Congress by John Kerry and Publisher Originals. Kerry, later a Massachusetts Senator and 2004 presidential contender, articulated a growing disenchantment with the Vietnam War and delivered a blistering indictment of the reasoning behind its prosecution. The Chairman: I hope you won't interrupt. It publishes a twice-yearly newsletter, The Veteran; this was earlier published more frequently as 1st Casualty (1971–1972) and then as Winter Soldier (1973–1975). Senator Symington: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. John Kerry's 1971 Vietnam Veterans Against The War Statement. The moral and morale issues you have raised will have to be finally acted upon by the committee. Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement by John Kerry, 1971 to the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations April 23, 1971 I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. paddies for want of support from their allies. I have seen good food come out for visitors and everything else. Mr. Kerry: I don't for the simple reason, I used to talk with officers about their- we asked them, and one officer took great pleasure in playing with me in the sense that he would say, "Well, you know you American, you come over here for 1 year and you can afford, you know, you go to Hong Kong for R. & R. and if you are a good boy you get another R. & R. or something you know. This item is available to borrow from all library branches. addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut Mr. Kerry: I have never really given that aspect of it all that much thought. The Chairman: I have often thought they were too indifferent to it, but they have responded to the arguments as to where our interest lies quite well, at least from my personal experience. And we can not consider ourselves America's best men when we are ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia. I have received a great many letters, but usually particularly in those from Vietnam, the men would say that they would not like me to use them or use their names for fear of retaliation. 137 quotes have been tagged as vietnam-war: ... , ptsd, veterans, vietnam, vietnam-war. Mr. Kerry: The problem is extremely serious. I think the very reason that we veterans are here today is the result partially of our inability to get our story out through the legitimate channels. I have just been disturbed, not so much by you as by other things that have happened, that the younger generation has lost faith in our system. I think it is helpful to try to put it in perspective and not lose confidence in the basically good motives and purposes of this country. When we were taken under fire we Americans, supposedly fighting with them, and pinned down in a ditch, and I was in the Navy and this was pretty unconventional, but when we were pinned down in a ditch recovering bodies or something and they refused to come in and help us, point blank refused. Mr. Kerry: I think they have; yes, sir. At some point the basic human values have to come back into this system and at this moment we are so built up within it by these outside structures, other interests, for instance, government by vested power which, in fact, you and I really know it is. We could come back to this country; 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, no reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out. lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to There is now a more militant attitude even within the military itself, among these soldiers evidenced by the advertisements recently in the New York Times in which members of the First Air Cavalry publicly signed up and said, "We would march on the 24th if we could be there, but we can't because we are in Vietnam." (Applause). And I often read about my own missions in the Stars and Stripes and the very mission we had been on had been doubled in figures and tripled in figures. Senator Symington: There have been many reports of widespread use of drugs by U.S. servicemen in Vietnam. Hence the anger of some of the men who are here in Washington today. Type Document Author(s) John Kerry Date April 23, 1971. For many of the American Veterans of the war, the wounds of Vietnam will never heal. Lack of Moral Indignation in United States. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude. But what I would like to know now is if we, as we complete our withdrawal and, say, get down to 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 or even 50,000 troops there, would there be any effort on the part of the South Vietnamese government of the South Vietnamese army, in your opinion, to impede their withdrawal? I am here as one member of the group of one thousand, which is a small representation of a very much larger group of veterans in this country, and were it possible for all of them to sit at this table they would be here and have the same kind of testimony. The Constitution under test, and we are failing. © Paul C. Gorski, 2006-2018. But you must remember we have been through nearly 30 years of warfare or cold war or crises which I think have upset the balance, as you say, in our constitutional system.