The organization Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (search) says it will stop its television advertising if John Kerry (search) admits his misstatements about his war record and apologizes for 1971 testimony in which he called his fellow sailors in Vietnam criminals.
In a letter that was en route to the Kerry-Edwards headquarters on Tuesday afternoon, veteran Greg Mueller, president of the Northern Virginia-based Creative Response Concepts (search), wrote that SBVT encourages the Democratic presidential candidate "to use this opportunity to clarify your actions in Vietnam and your statements about your fellow veterans and shipmates when you returned home."
He also urged Kerry to apologize to veterans for accusations against them that had "no basis in fact."
"Your exaggerated testimony before the U.S. Senate; the blanket indictment of your fellow veterans; throwing away medals and ribbons; all of these actions dishonored America and the armed forces. Your rhetoric and actions were not only wrong, they aided the enemy and brought great pain to POWs, veterans and their families," Mueller wrote.
In April 1971, Kerry testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations -- which the Swift Boat Veterans have excerpted and played in some of their ads. In the testimony, Kerry said veterans with whom he met in Detroit had claimed responsibility for a variety of atrocities against the Vietnamese people during the war.
Swift Boat Offer: Accept or Reject?
A sample of your responses:
John Kerry will accept the offer. Then he will reject the offer after he accepts.
The Swift Boat Vets' "offer" is tantamount to blackmail, the kind we see on a larger scale from international terrorists. Kerry should not bow to this kind of pressure to do anything. For me, how he handles this will foreshadow how he handles similar situations on the world stage.
Pompano Beach, FL
John Kerry is as likely to apologize to the Swift Boat Vets as he is to shave his head.
I don't know anything about John Kerry's war record, but I knew a lot of Nam vets and they all came home telling tales of senseless brutalities committed by a few of their number who went over the edge trying to fight an insane war. John Kerry displayed as much courage by speaking out against the policies of a corrupt administration that put young Americans in that situation as he did on the field of battle. He does not owe the Swift Boat Vets an apology.
I don't believe Kerry will apologize because then he would have to talk about how he can do things better and that is something he has no idea how to do. He has kept the whole thing going so he wouldn't have to talk about anything else. He can say he will do this or that better but can't say how.
Kerry won't accept the offer, but it was a smart move by the Swift Boat Veterans. It forces Kerry to address the issues that they brought up or remain silent and let the damage be done. Judging by his campaign's response yesterday, he'll most likely ignore the call or try to spin the issue away from the Vets' legitimate concerns.
This is only a question if you consider John Kerry an honorable man. He is not so he won't. To apologize means he has to admit he lied and that would lose the election for him. Not to apologize means the ads go on and he can't prove them wrong, he loses the election. He should have looked further down the road when he was lying to Congress back in 1971.
If he apologizes he admits that he was wrong and that he was responsible for the torture and possibly death of some of his fellow servicemen. If he doesn't apologize he shows the USA that he is an arrogant rich man who has no compassion or convictions. Either way he's toast.
Lake Ariel, PA
He'll reject it. Looks like he's saving up for running a more "sensitive war" so he has no feelings left for those he betrayed.
Of course John Kerry should not apologize to the Swift Boat Veterans. It is the Swift Boat Veterans that should be applauding John Kerry. History shows the Vietnam War to have been shameful, unnecessary and arrogant intrusion by the United States on the internal affairs of a civil war. Only by the persistent efforts of courageous conscientious freedom loving patriots like John Kerry was enough pressure finally brought upon the corrupt Johnson and Nixon administrations to begin to end the war. The tide will now begin to turn as people begin to look back on what really happened in that era. How many lives did John Kerry save by helping to precipitate an end to the War? Who is to be most respected, the soldier who dutifully obeyed his Nazi leadership or the resistant fighter who subverted the leadership for a higher moral cause? The Swift Boat ads will come back to haunt Bush as people remember how morally corrupt the Nixon and Johnson administrations were and comparisons begin to be made.
He should, but can’t. My father served in Vietnam, I served in the Army and am a disabled vet. This man doesn’t have the backbone to apologize. I do know that he could say he is sorry for the pain his words caused but he stands by what he said given to context of time. Two things are impossible: evading taxes and rewriting history. Although both have been attempted non have succeeded over the long haul.
Mr. Kerry's problems with the Swift Boat Vets could be dealt with by complying with one of demands of the Swift Boat Vets in their book "Unfit for Command." Sign form 180 and let the chips fall where they may.
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