From here: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/jaybryant/jb20040303.shtml
Because it was not my lot to serve in Vietnam, I have no qualifications to criticize those who did. But John Kerry has been running on his war record in a vastly more blatant way than previous candidates have done (George Bush the Elder, for example, or Bob Dole), he has opened the door for those who are qualified to express their views on his Vietnam record – both while he was there and after he returned.
One man with exceptional qualifications in that regard is retired Army Col. Glenn Lackey, who also knows something about life in the verbal combat zone known as Capitol Hill, where he served a stint as Chief of Staff for a Member of Congress.
Before that Lackey not only spent combat time in Vietnam, but also in Somalia and the Gulf War.
Recently, Lackey decided to express his thoughts on Kerry's public record, and being a very direct kind of guy, did it directly, by writing the following letter to Kerry, which I thought might interest readers of this space:
Dear Mr. Kerry;
After spending only four months in the country of Vietnam, you testified before Congress in 1971 with these exact words about incidents you say you witnessed: "They personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blew up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Viet Nam."
Spread that on a farmer's field where it will do some good. I spent a year there in 1968-69 in a combat arms unit. I was a Field Artillery Forward Observer in an Infantry company and I saw combat every day until I was wounded. When I returned from the hospital, I was assigned to an artillery battery. I saw brave men fight and die; I saw brave, good men pass out all their rations to hungry kids, build churches and schools, donate to orphanages, cry silently at the sight of villagers slaughtered by North Vietnamese, but I never saw anything approaching the war crimes that you happened to witness as your boat sped by villages on the river bank. If you witnessed atrocities and did not report them, you are guilty of aiding and abetting. If you lied, you are simply unfit for leadership at any level. The most serious incident I witnessed was a young sergeant who grabbed the arm of a Vietnamese woman during a village search. An older, more experienced noncommissioned officer knocked the sergeant to the ground and told him, somewhat forcefully, that that woman was someone's mother and would be treated with respect. That's it, Kerry, that's my confession - I didn't report the incident.
I have children, and my children have children. They will, perhaps, stumble upon your words, much as one might stumble upon a pile of dog droppings. I do not relish the thought of having to explain that your "experiences" are either a bald-faced lie, or you belong to that less-than-1% of Viet Nam veterans who committed war crimes/atrocities. Either way, your words do great harm to the institution of the Senate, my home state of Massachusetts, the Armed Services in which I proudly served for 27 years, and the very country that you aspire to lead.
Is it true that you single-handedly prevented a vote on a Senate version of H.R. 2833, the Viet Nam Human Rights Act of 2001 - a bill that passed the House by a vote of 410-1? There are many who believe that our failure to speak decisively on that issue cost the lives of thousands of Montagnard tribesman in Viet Nam. Where do you stand on H.R. 1587, the Viet Nam Human Rights Act of 2003? Will you support a parallel bill in the Senate? Is it true that you served as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on MIA/POW Affairs and in that role you fought hard to limit the expenditure of funds to investigate sightings or search for remains? You have, I believe, been a steadfast, staunch and vocal advocate for normalizing relations with Viet Nam. Could it be that your beloved first cousin, Mr. Forbes, CEO of Colliers International, recently signed a contract with Hanoi worth billions of dollars? Any truth to the rumor that you didn't really fling your "hard-earned" military medals over the White House fence in a juvenile fit of pique as you say you did, but rather, you threw your roommate's medals instead?
I know dozens of retired military professionals. None of them support you - there is a reason for that. They all served honorably and well, and they all believe that you did not. I know war heroes, and your, sir, are no war hero.
-- Glenn Lackey